It really is amazing how far I've come in only one week. I did a longer mountain walk with my sister yesterday, without stopping to rest on a park bench, and at a better pace too, more like my normal walking pace. We got caught up in the Oxfam walk for a better world and finished our private little walk in the midst of 5,000 high school students from across the province shouting clean water slogans. Fun!
Saturday morning. Yesterday was Friday, my one week surgery anniversary. And it really is amazing how far I've come in only that one week. I did the longer mountain walk with my sister yesterday, without stopping to rest on a park bench, and my sister says at a better pace too, more like my normal walking pace. That was fun too, we got caught up in the 45th annual Oxfam walk for a better world, 5,000 high school students from across Quebec starting out from our neighbourhood park just as my sister and I walked through on our way home. I took a fun selfie, and a few pics of the walk, and posted to of them on Facebook. It was a good way to end her visit. It was a good distraction for the sadness of her leaving. And it's only now, writing about it now, that I feel like crying. I was brave in the moment of goodbye and so was my sister.
It was a good visit. I was glad and sad to get the apartment back to just us after she left. We talked a lot, I was ready for some quiet. I was glad to finally have someone to talk to and we talked a lot, and then I was ready for some quiet. I still remember the look on her face in the train station. That's what makes me want to cry. My little sister. Heartbroken at what I've been through, heartbroken to leave me. Afraid of the future too? Imagining a future without me? Imaging the future that will never be the same even with me in it? I cannot imagine a future without my her, my sister. But one day, one of us will have to go through that and be the only sister left. Not today.
The look on her face seeing what has happened to me this winter.
Sometimes you need to see it through another person's eyes before you realize how bad it was. And we did talk about how far I've come. And that let me know more about what she saw when she first arrived. I've been putting a brave face on it, she has friends with cancer, but she probably didn't see them at this staying isolated stage. She didn't see my brother until a month after his last surgery. She must have been a bit shocked. Because at the end she talked about how much I've improved from the first day she saw me, never mind the surgery, that was a blip, but a small blip compared to the results of the chemo and the continuous progress I've made on that front. And she's right. It's true. Even with the surgery in between, the Friday walk on the mountain that I did with her yesterday was farther and faster than the walk we did when she first came, before the surgery. She was amazed. She was amazed that in one week I not only got past a lot of the surgery set-back, but I then continued to progress quite a bit on the chemo recovery road too. My hair is growing back at a great rate. It is. It's snow white so it doesn't show that much but it has turned into a real thing on my head now. And I'm walking further, faster better.
And the thing she doesn't know, is that I've gotten out more. She's got me out onto my regular walking territory, but also back shopping, eating in restaurants, chatting with strangers in stores, joining protest walks, all of it, getting back involved with life again.
I think she was a bit shocked at how much I was sleeping, how low I was to start with when she got here. I still sleep, a lot. Sometimes two hours in the afternoon. And then again on the couch in the early evening. And to bed at 10 pm. That isn't the surgery. That's still the chemo. If it was only the surgery I would be even further ahead by now.
So I have mixed feelings. I'm pleased that she saw such improvement in the nearly two weeks that she was here, and I'm a bit distressed that the chemo is clearly still slowing me down so much after more than a month. March 25th, that was the last chemo day. How I looked forward to that day, thinking it would be the end of everything chemo and horrible. It wasn't. First it was only the beginning of the last round of set back/knock down for me. And then the recovery has been much longer and slower than I thought it would be, than has ever happened in any recovery I've ever had in my life before. And I just get to thinking I'm okay, almost all recovered and then my sister shows up, with her most recent memory of me being the one from last summer, and she saw how not at my best health I was going into the surgery. And then she was delighted at the way I recovered from the surgery and kept on going recovering from the chemo too. She left with the idea that I was well on my way.
We made it through the surgery, through the first days of painkillers, through to the first doctor visit and unveiling of the reconstructed breast, through to the last antibiotic pill on Friday morning. We bought shoes for her, we had fun meals here at home, we had fun restaurant meals, we celebrated the unveiling milestone with a rose wine and appetizers on the balcony, we scanned family photos, we started a new sister project and got needles for me to get going on the granddaughter sweater. Which I should do. Which I should finish and send to my granddaughter for her birthday. It's only two sleeves and then the neck line and blocking/pressing. Her birthday is the end of the month. If I started up again soon, I could get it done by then and be able to send it to her for her birthday. Express post maybe, priority post. But I could do it. Something to think about. And a present for my husband too. May is birthday month around here.
Had a chat with my son on Skype. Wasn't in touch with him all that much for the last couple of weeks. I only have so much real time in any given day, still. And for the past ten days or so it's been taken up with hanging out with my sister and with surgery and recovery, and more hanging out with my sister. So that's been less time for other things. And I am backed up a bit on that. Keeping up with kids and grandkids for one.
For me this weekend, I can't really do so much house work, I’m not supposed to do too much with my arm yet. No vacuuming for six weeks. But I've decided that the mission can be to have a better bath/shower now and try to get rid of some of the sticky tape residue from the dressing. I did spend a bit more time in the sponge bath yesterday, and washed sticky tape reside off from under my boob, and it did feel better when that part quit sticking. But I didn't want to be spending too much time in the bathroom when my sister was here. Three of us had to share it, and she wasn't as free as my husband to go downstairs and use the office bathroom there. That is my mission for today. A better bath this morning. In the tub. Just a bit of water in the bottom, and the shower on top. Careful getting in and out. Careful standing up and sitting down. But still, getting there, doing it and moving forward with the whole healing process.
A walk this morning too, the mountain walk before it gets too hot. I know how far I can go easily, so that's the route I'll do today. That'll be good too.
And a bit of a tidy. My stuff this time. I have magazines, and clothes not put away things scattered all over the house. Stuff that I hauled out to show my sister, start cleaning up on that level. My husband washed the kitchen floor yesterday, my sister has been watering plants and everybody has been doing a certain amount of housework, so I'm not even going to think about that today. Not yet.
Next week. No medical appointments, but we are going the breast cancer support group. The oncologist nurse will be there on Wednesday night. And then Thursday morning I start with the physiotherapy gal at the wellness centre. I am making a point of taking advantage of as many of their services as I can, without turning it into a career. So, the physiotherapy and personal trainer is my next step. I am going to the support group which has it's own schedule and will go until June. So I have my immediate future more or less planned out. From here until June. Radiation will start somewhere in there. And the results from the pathology will be available too. We'll get those. And my brother is coming for my birthday. I wanted to take advantage of the seat sale, so we just booked it around that. We don't know the radiation dates, but we do know my birthday. And it'll be good for me - and my husband to have that next break in the schedule of the two of us getting through all this together.
Dispatched: May 11